Well, I am enjoying our visit to Aitutaki and I have also been talking up a storm with other opposition party supporters who are interested in what I have to say.
I have been asked, what are my thoughts on law and order, corruption' and health, and I spoke an abridged version of this to them and sat down this morning to put pen to paper, compose myself, and think about it, and anyway here's my thoughts.
After giving it much thought (about 5 minutes or so) I
thought, when a party focuses on these three, they are just barking up the same
tree with populist political policies rolled out year after year. Disingenuous comes to mind with no real
incentive to ensure that these policies actually work, or have any proper
relevance or importance other than to get a party into the good books and on to
the gravy train.
We all know that we have challenges relating to those three
items and hence law and order are not about law and order. We don’t need more
laws unless it is to regulate for proper conduct. Instead, if you talk to
ordinary iti-tangata in the street or in informal settings you get the same old
arguments. Bro did you hear about………? So it is quite easy to see that many
people when they hear those words invariably say it is about faith in our
police and faith in legal jurisprudence. More importantly faith that the laws
will be applied fairly and without prejudice as to whether you are an
immigrant, a foreign worker, labourer, a chief executive, a business owner or
an MP, or heaven forbid a PM.
We have a perception of differing treatment for different
people depending on their status in our communities, and the law treated as of
no consequence. Those whom we trust to prosecute the law must do so. How hard
is that? We need those who make the law, those who pass the law and those who
apply the law, to do it in a manner that gives us, the people faith that those
laws do not discriminate, that those laws are in our best interest (some have
been passed with hidden agendas, (i.e. Infrastructure Act) and that those laws
follow international conventions and agreements that we have signed and sworn
We do not need select committees to be formed to give
government advice unless it is about setting up a process to implement. We do
not need select committees to be formed from sitting MPs who cannot be trusted
because they have another biased agenda counter to what we as a nation have
signed up to. We just need to implement our agreements. The Crimes Act and
gender bias is a point in question. Endless select committee meetings and hand
wringing, and making sure that they don’t get the religious nutters offside
with their recommendation to cabinet.
As for corruption, how many times since 1965 has this been a
selling point for endless party-political statements. All parties have and are
involved in trying to benefit from this populist statement, pre the dissolution
of parliament with an impending general election. The lead up to the current
general election, months ago, has seen all parties rushing out to give so
called thankyou and Xmas gifts disguised as we love you, we want to thank you,
a thinly veiled piece of brinkmanship to disguise the fact that it is nothing
of the sort.
The formation of quango agencies to oversee corruption will
be a drain on financial and people resources, and a message of I told you so by
those who do not trust the hand that feeds the needy, the seedy and the greedy.
If it is not followed up with an outcome based on law, if it can be influenced
or usurped by politicians and vested interests in wanting an alternative
outcome, then it will be seen as a failure (again).
Health is the cornerstone of well-being, and a healthy,
vibrant, and happy populace that has somehow lost its way. NCD’s, obesity,
ill-health and poor quality of life is what we are and what we have become. We
are what we eat and what we import and in huge quantities. A health system
creaking at the seams as we grapple with increasingly dated equipment,
understaffing and poor health staff role models pushing a nutrition message and
meanwhile they are wheezing from being obese themselves. Way to send a positive
message. A system that has a focus on modern health rather than embracing
proven alternative cultural therapies.
We have poor mental health facilities and aged care
facilities, not enough rehab resources, and a need to reduce health inequities,
waiting lists, waiting times and poor client service.
Our facilities are increasingly no longer fit for purpose
and as we continue to pour money into upgrades, this is just a covering for
what ails our system. We are operating on a sow’s ear to create a silk purse.
In an ideal world we would have a medical health campus which caters for the
needs of our people from the day they are conceived, born and navigate the
human cycle of life to death. This would double as a medical facility offering
general, medical, surgical, specialist and cultural health and well-being
therapies and even to having a nurse and MD training facility all in a one stop
shop with world renown technology and therapies.
We won’t, it costs huge finances and is a pipe dream. It is
however an alternative view which no one that I know from the other Party's has
even contemplated. But a pipe- dream all the same. Instead, we are budgeting
for failure, covering a gaping wound with plasters and throwing more money into
an ever-widening hole of health despair focusing on the same issues without
respite and that have been discussed endless times to no avail with previous
We need to sit down and discuss healthy strategies, no
matter how outlandish. We need to prepare a proper strategy based on house-to-house
surveys, current Cook Islands data and targeted at our actual need and ability
to deliver. To develop health plans that are pertinent to us given our
isolation and distance from main centres and then formulate a practicable plan
to adopt, implement and roll out.